Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 2 Kerry O'Brien in Taiji: Risso's Dolphins.

Taiji. 9/1/2012. Risso's Dolphins.

Scanning the horizon, a large pod trapped by banger boats
Eleven Banger boats left the Taiji  bay on this cold January morning. I stood with friends, hoping and praying Dolphins would swim free today. As we waited, anxiously searching the horizon, it wasn't long before we saw the dreaded formation of the banger boats. As they drew closer to us , I could just see Dolphins between the boats. It looked like about 20 to me, this is an educated guess. The boats were starting and stopping quite a bit, these Dolphins were not being coersed along easily. Several times the banger boats changed direction and for a while it seemed as though the pod had escaped. We soon realised some of them had but tragically seven did not. The dolphins put up a valient fight, all the way. Len and I could see that these dolphins were bigger than yesterdays and spent some time trying to figure out what type they were. We knew they were larger and were thinking Pilot or Risso's because they were diving deep and disappearing for several minutes at a time , up to 10 mins at times. Also their movement in the water was slower and more graceful, not so much the leap of life the Striped Dolphins dance. As the 7 were driven through the harbour we confirmed 7 Risso's dolphins, one a juvenile.

Trapped Rissos

I started to shake and feel inconsolably cold as I always do, feeling their panic and despair. All I could do now was stand , document, record and hold them all in the light, praying all the while for their precious souls. The nets finally had them trapped in the cove.The Dolphin trainers appeared from across the cove to choose who they wanted to if they have the right! We stood my dear friends and I in respectful silence  as they were slaughtered, we could hear the usual fishermen shouting and tails flapping followed by the dreadful thuds of bodies being thrown into the skiff. We waited, then we saw what seemed to be an empty skiff come out from under the tarps and oh my goodness was that they young one in a sling at the side of the boat? Yes , it was. I watched , heartbroken to see one little wee fin sticking up out of the sling. I was  struck by the horror that this little one had witnessed her entire family being mercilessly slaughtered. Tears flowed freely now from me and my friends, we wept for lost beautiful lives and the tragic sight of a little one sitting alone in the cruel , lonely sling on the side of the boat. Through my tears I managed to sing a few lines of Amazing Grace but could not finish , my throat full of emotion and tears.
No matter how heartbreaking it is to be here,  for as long as I have to I will stand with others to say to the world, this is not acceptable, you must stop the captive dolphin trade and slavery market, and stop slaughtering our Angels of the sea. In the arms of the Angels dear Rissos I leave you today, though you be forever in my heart; always. xxx

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